Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Fruit Loops

I'm afraid I didn't make quite as much progress with the gingham dress as I wanted to over the weekend so I have nothing to interesting to report on the dress front. I think the zipper scared me too much, but I will tackle it soon, I promise. In the mean time please enjoy evidence that I have indeed finished the Fruit Loop socks.

I'd nearly forgotten I'd finally finished knitting them the week before even though I've been wearing them lots. I get cold feet a lot. Finishing them still took me long enough, didn't it? The worst part is that the unfinished sock sat on my desk for a good two weeks before I got around finishing the toe which in the end took me about an hour, tut, tut. I even used a different method, round toe I think its called, from the one in the original pattern as I just couldn't get my head around grafting. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try that in my next sock project whenever that might be as I've been somewhat wrapped up in dresses and dreaming of neat sewing spaces (and possibly spending too much time on Pinterest) recently.

                                    Anyhow here are the finished socks 

So they're not perfect, but it was good practice and fun. I noticed that there is something strange going on with my stockinette stitch when I swap from needle to another ... I have no idea how I do it or what I do, but the result is pretty awful. It's not quite so visible in the pictures, wearing the socks also seems to have worn the gap down, but there's still a few hick-ups there ...

                                    Weird stockinette stitch + a few other hick-ups 

I definitely need to work on those before I can even dream making any of the vintage knits I mentioned in an earlier post as you wouldn't want a weird line or some strange jumps in the middle of your bolero, now would you? I didn't have this problem with the socks I knitted for my lil brother so maybe if I stick to thicker wool, but then that's not really going to work on the vintage knits. More practice it is then, maybe the mittens I've been pondering upon or possibly something a tad more summery as its only around the corner.

That's all for now, stay tuned for more dress news in the coming week. Ta-ra for now.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Gingham dress - the bodice

I went to the fabric store on Friday and they still had some of the black and white gingham I had bought earlier. Good times. I must say I was a tad worried after I cut the bodice and discovered I didn't have enough fabric for the skirt, but then I could have always changed the skirt from a full circle skirt to something else less full so no need to lose sleep over it. I also bought some pale pink cotton to use as lining. I seem to have a thing for contrasting lining, but it looks cute, and the black and white gingham is thick enough so the lining doesn't show through the fabric.

                            Pink Lining


I started working on the bodice on Saturday after washing the lining and the gingham (separately I hasten to add) Friday night. I had some trouble with the dart marks on my gingham fabric, mainly that I couldn't see them, but after some pinning I managed them. I've seen crafty blogger's use pieces of thread to indicate the darts, tacking I think its called, I will be investigating this method further in the future. It can go on my list of new sewing techniques to try this year. 

Other than that little hiccup the bodice construction was pretty straight forward, I suppose making the mock-up took care of the worst pitfalls. The seams lined up well, pressing made the darts nice and neat, and I didn't have to spend time with my best friend the unpicker. For some reason I thought (or rather didn't think) it would be a good idea to under stitch the bodice with black thread. Needless to say it doesn't look too good as my stitching isn't very neat and my sewing machine has had a mind of its own all weekend (I think it needs to be looked at by someone). Next time I will be mostly using a thread colour closer to the lining.

                                       The not at all neat under stitch

Apart from the not so pretty under stitching, I'm fairly pleased with the bodice. The fit seems good, the gingham looks nice and you can't see the mess I made out of the under stitch while wearing the dress so all good.

                                    The almost finished bodice as modeled by my coat hanger

I'm going to tackle the skirt this week or next weekend at the latest. I will keep you posted. Over&out for now. 

Friday, 13 April 2012

The making of a dress ...

As I promised in the last post this one has something to do with dresses.

                              This is what I'm currently attempting to the make  ... 

I was originally going to use the gingham for a 50s style dress, that I found in the Burda Easy magazine, but after making a mock-up of the bodice I decided against it, as the bodice wasn't at all flattering and it would have needed lots of adjusting to be wearable. I'm hoping that I will get around adjusting it in the near future as the pleated skirt is tres pretty, but I just wasn't in the mood for it now or maybe I can just make the skirt when the mood takes me.

I had ordered the Butterick B5748 retro dress pattern, when Butterick.com had they're crazy all patterns for $2.99 sale on a few weeks back. The patterns (yes, there are more!) arrived sometime last week so I've had time to look at them and day-dream of making them. I'd bought enough fabric for the Burda dress so I've just discovered I will have to go back and buy another meter and half for the skirt part. I also going to need lining for this one so a quick visit to the fabric store doesn't seem like too much effort and who knows what else I will find there.

So after deciding to use B5748, I studied the measurements at the back of the pattern envelope and noticed to my horror that the closest size is a 16 (yikes), good news is I'm over it now after reminding myself that it's a sewing pattern and the sizes are completely different to clothing sizes. I've gotten a bit more patient with my sewing so I decided to make a mock-up again.

                             And this is why I make mock-ups ...

As you might see from the picture the bust is a bit on the large side and the neckline is a tad too wide for me which I find in most commercial patterns. I was surprised that the darts seemed to be in the right places even though the bust was a bit big. I took the side seams in about an 1.5cm (not on the waist though) which made a difference. I've also attempted to move the neckline on the pattern in a not so professional manner, but I'm hoping it will work on the actual dress. I really do need to brush up on pattern alteration. Any good links to tutorials on how to do this?

I've started cutting the dress, but I need to get more fabric for the back of the skirt and the lining so working on the dress will have to wait til Saturday and when I've got the fabrics pre-shrunk. I'm going to spend some time with the dress over the weekend so hopefully I will have some more progress to report next week.

Have a fab weekend dear readers.

Monday, 9 April 2012

A long overdue corset post

Remember the corset I mentioned way back in August? Don't worry I'd almost forgotten about too, but as the corset is visiting me (the 'hem' was a tad too long in the front so I'm taking it up a bit) I thought I'd take the opportunity to take pictures and add a few details about the making of ... 

I drafted the pattern basing it loosely on the Elizabethan pattern generator which can be found online here http://www.elizabethancostume.net/corsets/pattern.html, Simplicity 5726 corset pattern  and some brill drafting instructions I found somewhere zonks ago, alas the link is lost but I will see if I can relocate it at.

After drafting I made a mock-up to see what the fit was like and if the pattern needed tweaking, cause it always, always does and this was no exception, maybe that's just my drafting skills. Luckily I didn't need to modify it too much, it was only really the front seam that needed taking in a bit from so that was pretty quick to do. Did I mention that I was in a hurry whilst doing this one? It had to be ready for last summer's goth fest in Tampere. I ended up finishing the hem an hour before we left hence it ended being too long and J's sewing machine did not like me at all!

The construction was surprsingly straight forward (well the bits I did at home). I suspect for once all the basting paid off, I can't do straight boning cases without basting. Also not having a fashion layer to add bulk makes a world of difference. I must confess I have made a few corsets (with varying results) in the past so I knew that you should sew all the seams in the same directions (probably not a bad piece of advice for other projects as well) so it won't pucker quite so much. And I have a grommet setter which really helps. I've hammered the grommets for a few projects and trust me that was not fun.

                                      The inside and the boning cases

I used the unbeatable combo wire cutters and metre bones for first time. Twas a bit of challenge cutting the damn things but at least they're all the right length which is the main thing. I finished off the bones by smoothing them over with my very street cred B&D metal files. I didn't dip the ends as I couldn't find anything to dip them in, which I know is bad, but if someone can recommend something (preferably available in Finland) I'm happy to open the seams and finish the bones.

                           Who needs a nail file when you can have a metal file ...

The corset is single layer underbust made out of black herringbone coutil which gives it a nice barely there stripey effect. It has a busk closure in the front and lacing at the back. I used black twill tape for the bone casing. I didn't add waist tape as the corset is not meant for tight-lacing. I had some silver grommets left over from a previous project so I used them for the lacing as they matched the busk nicely. The lacing is just boring and black, my friend (who's corset it is) and I toyed with the idea of coloured lacing, but we decided we can change that later if need be.

                                    The finished corset

I'm pretty pleased with the finished result, especially now that the front hem is the correct length. There are a few seams that could be neater, but it's getting there. And more importantly my friend J likes it; she's worn it out a few times and apparently people have been complementary about the corset.

Ta-ra for now. There might be something relating to a dress in  the next post ...

Monday, 2 April 2012

Alexander Henry Fabrics

                           Look what the postman brought me today!

I ordered these lovely Alexander Henry print cottons online from Cia’s Palette (www.ciaspalette.com) just over a week ago and they arrived already. Needless to say I'm rather excited. I'm usually a bit dubious about ordering fabric online as I have little clue on fabric weights and all the other useful stuff you should know when ordering fabric online and on the few occasions when I have ordered material, it's not been quite what I've thought it would be. But as I’m yet to find a stockist for Alexander Henry fabrics in Finland I had to brave it online. It might have helped that I have stroked AH fabrics in stores on before so I had a pretty good idea of what I would be getting.

I picked Cia's Palette as had the mini Calaveras fabric with the black ground in stock and reasonably priced postage to the land of Fin so it seemed like a no-brainer. It took them a few days to process the order, but the delivery was super-quick (considering it came from the US) and isn't the packaging tres cute? I would (and probably will) use them again as they have lovely print cottons in their range.

                            The Ghastly bats in charcoal grey 

                           The Mini Calaveras

Aren’t the fabrics adorable? I’ve been admiring the AH print cottons for a good few years now but I’ve never ordered  more than FQ  as they’ve always seemed too expensive and I’ve not been entirely sure what make from them so I thought it would be best not to have the fabrics gathering dust somewhere, but with my newly found love for sewing, I thought I would treat myself to some. In case you didn't guess, I'm dying to turn the bat fabric into a dress with pockets.

Anyhow I'm off to look for dress patterns though I keep toying with the idea of another Jackie O. Laters my lovelies.